After becoming interested in carrying for another family as a gestational surrogate,
I threw myself down the rabbit hole pretty quickly.
I dove into research and Facebook support groups, and probed the people close to me for opinions. I wanted to feel as prepared as possible in making such a huge decision. Still, there are some things that only first-hand experience can teach you.
Now, as a carrier who’s 32 weeks pregnant with a solid year into the surrogacy process, I feel keenly aware of what has been required not only of me but also of the people around me. But that certainly is not always the case for surrogates! In fact, since so many surrogates are drawn to this process because of the ease and enjoyment they had of their own pregnancies, I think it can be easy for many of us to downplay the entirety of what a surrogacy journey can entail.
My advice to any person seriously considering becoming a gestational surrogate is to not underestimate the inevitable impact it will have on your own life and family. Consider that when you are matching with Intended Parents. Consider that when you are setting a compensation rate and going through the contract phase. And perhaps more than any other time, consider that when you are evaluating your own support system!
Something I have learned through my own journey is that having a strong support system is absolutely pivotal.
I think that support looks different for every person. For me, it has consisted of the “village” I have as a family already—parents, in-laws, siblings, kid’s schoolteachers, etc.—but, more so than anyone else, my husband. I am grateful to also have a birth doula supporting me throughout my pregnancy and amazing Intended Parents whom I can lean on as well.
Each of these people have played different but priceless roles throughout my journey as a surrogate. My husband has been my number one supporter ever since I first talked to him about “this crazy gestational surrogate thing,” set in my heart seven years ago. Since then, he has been there through every major milestone in my journey, held back my hair through morning sickness, made flexibilities within his own work schedule, and been on countless rounds of kid-duty while I ran around town to monitoring appointments or any of the other surrogacy- and pregnancy-related tasks that have arisen.
My doula has also been a lifesaver throughout my pregnancy. Even as an experienced birth doula and 3x mom myself, I knew I would need a pregnancy expert and dedicated support person to reach out to and lean on throughout the many twists and turns of this journey. We tend to forget what all our bodies go through bringing a child into the world, and having an extra knowledgeable go-to person has been invaluable.
Even though my Intended Parents live states away, they have certainly been a huge support to me throughout the pregnancy as well.
I’m thankful to be carrying for people who desire a close relationship and want to be as involved as possible throughout the journey.
They have always been there to check in on how I am feeling, and have even sent our family several meals via delivery service on some of the more difficult days thus far!
My journey is not yet complete, and we still have some of the more trying weeks to come (hello childbirth and postpartum!) but I feel confident that the support system I’ve gathered so far will help carry me through the finish line. And for that I’m eternally grateful.